Murtha utters “D-word” in public

The Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense just turned up the burner under the Bush war machine. And then dumped some gasoline on the stove. From Raw Story:

Rep. John Murtha, a veteran of the U.S. Marines who served in the Korean and Vietnam Wars, said that President George W. Bush cannot continue to carry out his current war plans in Iraq without starting a draft.“The president asks the impossible and the burden continues to fall on the very few. The pressure must be taken off the current force and their families who have already sacrificed so much,” said Murtha today to the Defense Appropriations subcommittee, which he chairs. “If the President insists on continuing the current operational tempo and policy, then he should call for a military draft. That is the responsible thing to do.”

Full story here.

Recent polling seems to suggest that the president has been losing ground on his bid for escalation, despite his recent pro-war PR blitz (WashPost and CNN). I think a bit of this owes to the fact that Dem leaders in both houses have been shockingly coherent and focused in the past few weeks – and I say this as a guy who has whipped Democratic leadership relentlessly for its confusion and incompetence over the past several decades couple of years. But Reid and Pelosi have had a strong, clear message and they haven’t wavered.

Now Murtha is going to start parading the D-word around in public. At a time when the Bushies are trying to fight off scandal after scandal after scandal. For those of us who enjoy good political theory, this baby is starting to get good….

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9 replies »

  1. A veteran is calling for the draft? Now that’s impressive, especially since he served during Vietnam, during the height of the anti-draft movement. So long as there is a fair way to implement such a thing (something like mandatory national service with no exceptions), I’d be for it too.

    Murtha has been somewhat marginalized in the Democratic Party of late, so I don’t know that his support for a renewed draft will necessarily mean a whole lot – we’ll see what happens.

  2. No no – he isn’t calling for a draft. He’s laying the reality of things in Bush’s lap and saying that the only way to do what W is calling for is to start a draft.

    Big difference.

  3. Murtha is simply telling the truth to power: there is no way to prosecute this war with any hope of success (and even with a draft the war may be lost because we’re still trying to fight the damned thing like it’s nation v.nation – apparently we learned nothing in Vietnam) without a draft.

    Escalating the war is really about politics, Bush/Rove style – it’s about hamstringing the Dem administration that we’re likely to get in ’08 with debt and necessary spending for war maintenance so heavy so that after four years of struggling not to careen into economic depression (or perhaps even doing so) a new Republican regime can take over in 2012.

    Ruin the country to gain a political advantage? Nah, Rove would never do that…and the sun won’t rise in the East tomorrow, either….

  4. I am quite convinced that providing it was terrorist’s that attacked the twin towers then what President Bush is doing what is right, under the circumstances. However I have seen the documentary “In Plane Site” which puts me in a position to ask ” Was that just another Pearl Harbour to start the next war” or is the logic way of thinking that this is just another step for the new world order.
    The movie In Plane Site was inspired by a French Organization, and questioned by a concerned American, it has been shown to the general public in Australia and parts of Asia.
    What I would ask The Fifth Estate why is this documentary shown to our general public, and question the persons involved to explain to us feeble minded the truth.
    There are a lot of questions against the Bush et al that dont make sense, When George Snr did not finish the job by going into Iraq a number of persons complained about his incompetence, What is there opinion now?
    If we have to have a new world order does it not make sense that what we are seeing in the Arab states has to be done?
    I was in the Persian Gulf over fourty years ago and the situation was the same then, we were a merchant oil tanker that had to be escorted to Basra by Royal Navy vessels. What has changed?
    To get a new world order George W Bush is 100% right, but let’s hear the truth.

  5. Good for Murtha! I see his statement as primarily a way of pointing out the fecklessness of Bush’s Iraq/Afghanistan policy. But I think he is also saying, Sam, that if Bush does not change his policy, a draft would be a real way of ameliorating the situation for the overstretched military.

    I would also add that it’s simply good policy to have a draft

  6. The idea of a draft scares me less than it did when I was of draftable age, I guess.

    As I will eventually be spelling out over at DS08 (http://drslammy.wordpress.com/), I favor a national service policy that has military as one of its options. I feel like, beginning with my generation (X) we have steadily lost touch with any kind of personal investment in the society. Since Vietnam, we’ve really had nothing to drag us away from our own worst tendencies toward sloth and pathological pleasure-seeking.

    I do see the value in having a military that represents the broad swath of American demography instead of what we have now. If you get a few more children of the privileged into the system you might find our leadership all of a sudden behaving a little more responsibly.

    Or am I dreaming?

  7. I don’t think you are dreaming, Sam, and I think you’re exactly right to tie a military draft to a more general national service policy. Of course, you’re also right that people of draftable age might have a different take on things, although that kind of personal engagement in the issue might jumpstart a real debate about the militaristic basis of our empire, and that would be a very good thing.

  8. Right, Robert. I’ve never been shot at, but I have always imagined that it would induce an entirely different mindset than not being shot at. And there being a mild correlation between being drafted and being shot at…..